The Bible has a lot of rules. I mean…a lot. I honestly have no idea just how many are there, and I felt no urge from the Spirit to Google it because it is enough to say that there are a whole stinkin’ lot of them! Leviticus is probably the most well-known book of the Bible for spouting off rules that seem unnecessary, questionable, or just plain ludicrous (do not wear clothing made of two different materials…huh?)# If you’d like to look at other befuddling laws in other books of the Bible just hit up Google and type in “laws of the old covenant” and browse away! The Ten Commandments are also well-known, and rightly so as they are relevant today. When God gave the nation of Israel the laws to live by way back in the day, He was providing them with a means for hygiene, health, and a healthy society. Many of those laws have science to back them up nowadays. However, The Ten Commandments were something He decreed for all nations and generations. They are relevant to every culture, even today, and will be until the second coming of Christ. So why do we have these rules to follow, if God knew they would no longer be relevant at some point? Well, we don’t. They are documented in the Bible, but that is what we call the old covenant. We are under the new covenant. Jesus came to Earth as God in human form and sacrificed himself to save us from our sins, therefore creating a new covenant with mankind to save us from Hell. That means a lot less headaches trying to follow along with all the rules. We no longer have rules, per say, but a standard that we are held to. I already mentioned The Ten Commandments, and while they are set up as rules, they outline the standard God holds us to. Being a Christian is so much more, though. Jesus came to Earth to live a life that we should emulate as best we can everyday. You see, when Jesus came to Earth, He left man (and woman) with a rational, simple, and necessary standard to live up to.
The standard we are required by God to live by is rational; it just makes plain, good ol’ sense. For example, the first of the commandments says that you shall have no other gods before the One True God. Well, duh! If you come to realize that God exists and that He created you and loves you unconditionally…why on Earth would you follow another “god?” That makes no sense! The second commandment of not creating false idols, pretty much goes along with that first one. Then there’s the fourth one. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Um, God expects us to work and earn our living…but He gave us a day to rest. Who would forget to rest?! I don’t know about you, but I like to take a break every once in a while. Look at any of The Ten Commandments and you will find that they are each rational. For more information on those commandments, and what they mean, click here. Now, we are also commended by Christ himself to love. When he was asked which of the laws of the old covenant (which wasn’t the old one, yet) was the greatest, he replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”# So, we’re supposed to love people, okay, fair enough, but how is that rational? Now, God is love. He does not just love us, He actually is love. God is also good. So, if God is love and God is good, then we can use the transitive property of mathematics to derive that love is good. We want to be good, right? So then it would be rational to love. With me so far?
Not only is God’s standard rational, but it is also oh so simple. Every single of the commandments is short, sweet and straight to the point. They are all black and white with absolutely no gray area. I feel no urge to even go into any specifically, because it is that simple. Visit the page I referenced earlier if you need proof. Love, however, can be a bit complex if you don’t have the right definition of love. Many people today are misguided in thinking that love is an emotion. If something makes you feel good, gives you butterflies, or makes you happy in general, you claim to love it. However, that is called infatuation. It would be very hard to love everyone and everything as God does, if we were trying to be infatuated with everything. So then, if that’s not love, what is? Well, the Bible defines that for us, too! It makes it very simple! Take a look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Go ahead. I’ll wait… Now, how simple is that? Love is patient. There’s no wiggle room or gray area there. It’s patient…end of story. It’s kind and humble and steadfast and all these things. Now, it’s not easy to be all of those things all of the time, regardless of who you are dealing with, but now the goal of loving is a lot more reachable than when you think of infatuation. See? All of God’s “rules” are simple. They are, in fact, much more simple than modern law. The Bible says “do not kill,” but the State of California says “(clickhereforlaw)” People go to school for years to get a grasp of modern law, and still spend their lifetime learning about it and how it works, but people can spend just a few hours and get a firm understanding of what God commands of us.
Last, but certainly not least, God’s standard is absolutely necessary to a healthy, happy, functioning society. Commandment number five says to obey your parents. If children did not obey their parents, we would be in big trouble. Children who do not obey their parents grow into adults who do not obey the law. Commandment number five is necessary to producing law-abiding citizens. Commandments six through nine state that you should not kill, cheat on your spouse, steal, or lie. All of these acts encourage distrust and chaos. These rules are necessary to maintain harmony among people. Commandment number ten says to not covet, or to not want what someone else has. This is necessary for our own state of mind. When you want something that someone else has, you become dissatisfied with your own possessions. This is also applicable to family members and environments. Wishing that your son was potty-trained as early as your neighbors, only leads you to be unhappy with your son’s current abilities on the toilet. Dissatisfaction makes loving much more difficult and can lead to bad moods and harsh words or thoughts. Therefore, this rule is also necessary to maintaining harmony. Regardless of what the rule may be, rules are necessary by principle. We cannot function adequately without boundaries. Look at children who are raised by permissive parents who have little or no rules and fail to enforce them. These children grow up lacking self-control and respect for authority. In a study once done in an elementary school, children were offered to pick and choose whatever they wanted for lunch, rather than having set healthy portions and food groups available. In this study, children did pig out on junk food for the first week or so, but they certainly went back to a healthy, balanced lunch shortly thereafter. Why? Because we need structure. Humans thrive off of structure. Rules are necessary. We want rules! People are happier with rules, plain and simple. We set personal rules for ourselves all the time. We know our tendency to do wrong and to make poor choices, and we use the precedence of our past to create boundaries for ourselves. “Okay, in bed by ten before a test!” “No more dating musicians!” “I am not going to buy potato chips anymore!” We know we’re flawed. We just know and we make rules accordingly.
So, we know now that when Jesus came to Earth, He left us with a rational, simple, and necessary standard to live by. We’ve discussed why it’s rational, simple, and necessary…but just what is that standard? We can examine the Bible and pick it apart and try to interpret every little verse, or we can do it the easy way. Sin is what separates us from God, right? Well, what is sin? Sin comes from the Greek and was a term used in archery and it literally means “to miss the mark.” Sin does not necessarily mean breaking a “rule” that God has laid out for us. It means to miss the mark that God has set. It means not hitting the bull’s-eye. The bull’s-eye is Jesus Christ. We are to emulate Him in everything we do. The Holy Spirit will convict us of our wrong, there is no need to study rules and regulations in the Bible. For example, you can say that well, “I just cannot conclude that homosexuality is wrong. The Bible tiptoes around it, but doesn’t come right out and say it.” However, we know that God created sex for reproduction. We know he created woman to be man’s helper. Just on these two facts alone, we know that it is a sin. Simply because it misses the mark. Woman is supposed to be man’s helper, not woman’s helper. Sex is supposed to result in children and between the same gender, it does not. We can also look at the controversy of premarital sex….or any heavy premarital contact. We know that we are supposed to emulate Jesus. Do you think Jesus was walking around having sex with anyone he pleased? I think not. I have WWJD tattooed on my inner wrist to always remind me. I am not called to obey God’s rules, I am called to follow Jesus’ example. So, just because you can’t find a verse strictly forbidding it, does not mean that it’s okay. The Holy Spirit will convict you. You’ll know you’re in the wrong. Follow the example He set and evade sin. It’s not hard. It’s not oppressive. There is more than enough room for fun and laughter and love in the Christian life.
When confronted with someone trying to denounce or question the Christian faith and they throw “there are just too many rules” at you…just tell them that God’s rules are no harder to live by than society’s rules!